Batsuchan

Onegin - Spring 2012

46 posts in this topic

Tonight was another memorable, heartbreaking night of Onegin. Vishneva and Gomes were enthralling - especially in the final gut wrenching scene. I also thought that Jared Mathews added some more nuance to his role as Lensky compared to MOnday night. Peter Martins was in the audience, checking out the competition.

Completely agree abatt! Vishneva & Gomes were astounding, and you could tell they knew it during the bows--still so caught up in the emotion!

While EVERY performance of theirs is a must-see event, in my opinion, they really do take it into the stratosphere when they get to do the same ballet twice in one week. I think anything they were unsatisfied with gets resolved in the second performance. Especially since Monday was their first time performing the ballet together, I felt like they figured out how they could do more this time. In particular, I felt like Diana was particularly audacious (the lady behind me called her crazy) in the Act I p.d.d. There is a part where Onegin is partnering her with one hand--he uses her left hand to support her as she whips from facing forward to back all while arching backwards--and Diana really threw herself into it as if 100% sure Marcelo would be able to support her, even with one hand!

My friend who went with me said it was all so exhilarating and would gladly have paid double!

So did the rest of the house, it seems. It was packed, with a few people in standing room, and the house positively erupted after Act III! Bravo!

ETA And I almost forgot to mention that the bows and curtain calls were great, as usual. Diana and Marcelo are always so affectionate toward each other--you can really tell that they love dancing together!

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Last night was absolutely incredible!

I actually was worried about Diana - she looked like she was going to faint at the end of the ballet. She and Marcelo gave everything they had in that last pas de deux and you could tell when she threw him out - it was a gut-wrenching decision. The look on Diana's face when she ripped up Marcelo's letter - WOW!

Like her Juliet, you could see her total transformation of character through her acting and her dancing. Her Tatiana goes from a shy bookish teenager to a young woman in love for the first time to a glamorous and sophisticated society wife who cares deeply for her husband (but seemingly without any passion).

Again - thank you Diana and Marcelo!

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I saw the Julie Kent/Roberto Bolle performance last night. This ballet needs a lot of dramatic voltage from the dancers to make an exciting evening. It doesn't play itself. Kent and Bolle are lovely dancers but took too long to catch fire - it was too little, too late. Especially in comparison with Vishneva/Gomes on Tuesday night. Kent was lovely and wasn't unconvincing from a distance as a teenager. But her Act I and II Tatiana was very quiet and introverted without the intensely repressed emotion that Vishneva (and Haydée and Makarova and Ferri and...) brought to the role. She was shy, lyrical and small-scale. Very natural, truthful and subtle but not intense. I didn't get a sense of wild new emotions straining to break free. Whereas Vishneva suggested a rich inner life under the surface, Kent seemed dull and prim. The role's choreographic demands are well within Kent's current physical capabilities - there is not a lot of sustained dancing especially at the beginning. In the pas de deuxs she is lifted a lot.

Kent was flying during the lifts. I do not have familiarity with the mechanics, but from what I have read, the ballerina must perform a great deal of the work in a successful lift. If this is true, then she was in excellent form. Indeed, I thought she performed better than she did last year.

Perhaps Kent and Vishneval interpreted the role differently, If Kent did not display intense emotions initially, perhaps she was suggesting that they awoke or arose suddenly upon introduction to the stranger. Perhaps they remained buried in her subconscious mind, or were misunderstood until she faced Onegin. I have read articles separating the characteristics of shyness and intensity, but I agree with Vishneva that these qualities can co-exist. Nevertheless, Kent may have read her character as inexperienced and shy, with other, internalized feelings unrecognized and/or unexpressed.

Roberto Bolle basically has a warm, understated sympathetic personality on stage. Bolle is not the kind of performer who transforms himself into the character like Gomes or Bocca did. He works from his own very glamorous and charismatic personality and if it fits the role, then all is good. He is very much the Prince onstage - essentially gracious. He is imposing but unthreatening. His Albrecht is not really a cad and as Onegin he tried hard to be one but no cigar. In the first act, Bolle smiled too much especially when he is dancing with Tatiana - it is automatic with him, he is very much the gallant with his partners. His tall, dark good looks fit the Byronic image to perfection and his dancing was wonderfully clear, expansive and controlled. But the emotional darkness of the character wasn't there - he played the cruel actions but didn't seem to be feeling them or knowing where they come from. So what he did to Tatiana seemed random and offhand. It struck me that his temperment is better suited to Lensky but who would you cast as Onegin with him?

Now Pushkin's Onegin is a complex character - he is young, very bored and Tatiana's actions are actually very aggressive for a woman of that time. The woman, especially a virtuous young one, is not supposed to take the initiative with a man. And for a woman of her class a declaration of love means marriage - something that Onegin at that time - dependent on a sick uncle - cannot decide for himself. So his cool return of the letter could be seen not as a callous rejection but a brotherly admonition from someone who at that time is not interested in or able to enter into marriage. Cranko makes him into a sadistic male tease who enjoys leading Tatiana on and then cutting her dead.

Many writers discuss Onegin as a "bad guy" and complain they cannot view Gomes as "mean." This characterization seems too facile. Bolle interpreted Onegin in a nuanced, subtle, and complex manner. I do not know if this translated to the back of the theatre. He offered more information about the character than derived from the simplistic explanation contained in the program notes or by many critics and bloggers.

Tatiana's letter clearly troubled Onegin, as interpreted by Bolle. He did not know how to react to it. Faux Pas writes that Onegin was not in a position to consider courting or marrying Tatiana, based on his economic situation, and that the writing of a letter from a woman to a man posed a social problem at that time. Bolle showed that Onegin felt that her feelings and actions imposed a burden upon him, with which he did not want to have to deal. Onegin did not handle receipt of the letter or rejection of Tatiana well, with sufficient consideration or tenderness, but he may have lacked the intelligence, development of character, or experience to address it properly. Nevertheless, he did not act out of a motivation to engage in sadistic cruelty. Indeed, he did not display the indifference or carelessness that he showed to other women whose company he later breezed through and with whom he shared casual encounters later in the ballet. From his actions in the duel and with the letter, he seemed to be pained and frustrated at his inability to reach an easy resolution of difficult situations, and at even being faced with conflicts, problems, and challenges. That someone hurts another, through rejection or otherwise, does not demonstrate evil intentions. Onegin's failures demonstrate his flaws, but do not indicate he is evil. (Of course, this analysis assumes the character is a human being and not a metaphor.) Indeed, FauxPas offers an explanation that Onegin acted in a brotherly manner. This demonstrates concern, not an character that is beyond redemption. I do not know if I agree with this interpretation, but it is one of several that are more generous than many seem willing to consider.

Anyway both Kent and Bolle did their best work in the last act as the mature regal Tatiana and the repentant, truly amorous Onegin. Kent danced the Act III pas de deux with Prince Gremin with a swan-like grace and tenderness with beautiful supported promenades and arabesques. Kent also subtly suggested the conflicting emotions that tore Tatiana apart in the final scene with Onegin where she rejects him. Having more positive and vulnerable emotions to play worked to Bolle's favor and he seemed genuinely repentent and sincere. Suddenly the two seemed to be sparking off of each other and the emotion was at the right level. But then the ballet was over.

The first act pdd was breathtaking, moving, and astonishing. The dream quality and passionate love emanated from the stage. The dream sequence offered both dancers the positive emotions to display, which Faux Pas states well suit them. Indeed, this scene presented Bolle as the princely, handsome, romantic, dream hero and love interest.

The dance with Olga showed a selfish, playful, flirtatious character. In this case, Onegin demonstrated a carelessness toward Lensky, as he showed with the women with whom he had casual encounters, and lack of understanding of the depth of emotions or the impact of his actions upon Lensky, a poet with passionate feelings, as he demonstrated with Tatiana.

The third act pdd involved great vulnerability, openly and wildly expressed. As Faux Pas writes, the dancers express these emotions with great sincerity and passion, as well as technical strength.

Contrary to many writers,Tatiana's rejection of Onegin during this pdd did not involve revenge. She did not want to impose pain upon Onegin, or take any pleasure in Onegin's pain, Indeed, she plainly suffered her own, intense pain. Her success in life, at least from social and presumably economic standpoints, did not constitute "sweet revenge", as suggested elsewhere.

Just a note - all the lifts and partnering worked very well. The problem with their Letter/Dream Onegin pdd at the opening night gala was not only a lack of rehearsal but the stage was too shallow. Here Kent and Bolle were better rehearsed and had the whole stage to traverse whereas at the opening night gala they only had the front third of the Met stage to work with. Also I think this pas de deux needs to be rehearsed on the actual stage itself which it might not have been at the gala.

The performance on Wednesday night was much more intense and focused than at the gala. I think dancing the full ballet offered the opportunity to concentrate on the entire plot and character, which served the dancing. Also, the fouettes and fireworks of all the stars at the gala may have presented a bit of a distraction and created anxieties.

The rest of the cast was fine. Jared Matthews stepped in as Lensky again replacing Blaine Hoven and did well. In his Act III solo there were a few shaky moments which weren't present in his excellent opening night performance. Maria Riccetto was a good Olga with lovely clear footwork and turns but less ballon and vivacity than Osipova (a really hard act to follow). Roman Zhurbin was very sensitive and warm as Prince Gremin and an excellent partner. Martine Van Hamel as Mme. Larina and Nancy Raffa as the Nurse are always welcome presences on the stage and added a touch of character and class to their limited assignments. Decent but far from filled house.

Lensky's solo required greater clarity. The dancing or choreography did not convey Lensky's struggle at that point clearly enough.

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Contrary to many writers,Tatiana's rejection of Onegin during this pdd did not involve revenge. She did not want to impose pain upon Onegin, or take any pleasure in Onegin's pain, Indeed, she plainly suffered her own, intense pain. Her success in life, at least from social and presumably economic standpoints, did not constitute "sweet revenge", as suggested elsewhere.

PuppyTreats,

I think you misread my comments about "sweet revenge." I was talking about the book, not the ballet. I specifically said the opera and the ballet are much more sentimental and Tatiana is much more anguished. The ballet clearly shows that Tatiana is very, very upset at having to tell Onegin that she can't be with him. My memory of the book was that Tatiana had moved on in life (financially, socially, personally) and it was "sweet revenge" (my own personal interpretation) without her meaning for it to be. I probably didn't explain myself well enough, but I never meant that she was out to get revenge on him or hurt him purposely.

But someone else corrected my memory of the book ending and said she does indeed state her love for Onegin in the book (poem). But we both agreed that it was much less anguished than in the opera or ballet. Thus, my memory of it being a lot more matter-of-fact tone like, "Sorry, but I've moved on!" It apparently wasn't the way I remember it, but that is the message I got 20 or more years ago from the poem/book/novel.

Just wanted to clarify, so that no one is confused, even if I was confused about the ending of the original story (book).

Bart

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I have a question about the music that accompanies the last two minutes of the mirror pas de deux. Does anyone know which specific piece it comes from? This theme is subsequently reprised during the final pas de deux, for about one minute---in the midst of "Francesca da Rimini"---just before Tatiana returns Onegin's letter. It sounds very familiar, but I'm unable to recall where it is from. This has been driving me insane for the last few days. smile.png

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I have a question about the music that accompanies the last two minutes of the mirror pas de deux. Does anyone know which specific piece it comes from? This theme is subsequently reprised during the final pas de deux, for about one minute---in the midst of "Francesca da Rimini"---just before Tatiana returns Onegin's letter. It sounds very familiar, but I'm unable to recall where it is from. This has been driving me insane for the last few days. smile.png

According to this page, it's a duet scene from Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet":

http://www.theballet...0/09/17/onegin/

The most often employed passages come from The Seasons as well as the opera Cherevichki (The Tsarina’s Slippers, 1885). A duet from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet serves as basis for Tatiana and Onegin’s Act I Pas de Deux. The second movement of Francesca da Rimini can be heard in the Act III Pas de Deux.

Apparently it is rarely performed and was completed by Taneyev after Tchaikovsky's death:

http://www.musicweb-...gin_acd6048.htm

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Thanks, Batsuchan. Tchaikovsky has an Overture-Fantasy "Romeo and Juliet" which is performed often and is a complete work. He also has a sketch for a vocal duet (soprano + tenor) "Romeo and Juliet", which was completed by Taneyev. It is based on the Overture-Fantasy but also contains additional material. This additional material serves as the basis for the beginning of the mirror pas de deux from "Onegin". However, the music I was referring to---the last two minutes of the mirror pas de deux---is not from this duet. (All this can be verified through youtube which has at least one rendition of the "Duet of Romeo and Juliet".) I'm sure the last two minutes of the pdd are from something that's commonly performed, because they sound very familiar. This is what's so maddening about not being able to recall where they are from! smile.png

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Having seen all four casts, Vishneva and Gomes were my favorite, for the reasons noted previously. My least favorite cast was Dvorovenko- Stearns. Dvorovenko was too confident and outgoing in the beginning. She could not develop the arc of the character from naive girl to sophisticated woman. She seemed sophisticated from the first entrance. Also, her performance looked completely scripted- never spontaneous. Cory Stears did well enough, although he is so young looking that when he comes back in the last act with gray hair it looked a bit comical. Simkin was the best danced Lensky of the run. He executed the choreography effortlessly. However, I was not impressed with his acting. Sara Lane was my second favorite Olga of the run (after Osipova). She can play the minx to the hilt, and she also played the tragic portions well. Her dancing was magnificent.

In the past I have found Hee Seo to be disappointing in lead roles. However, I thought she did an excellent job in this role. She is a very lyrical, expressive dancer. She obviously was a little too young to play a sophisticated society lady in the last act, but she danced beautifully. The look of disgust that she shot Onegin after he killed Lensky was priceless. In the final act, she and Hallberg were thrilling. Hallberg has such gorgeous technique and line, I felt that his was the best danced Onegin, but not the best in terms of characterization.

Doesn't every woman (and guy?) wish that Roberto Bolle came walking through their mirror? I thoroughly enjoyed his performance on all levels. The kinks that plagued his opening night performance w. Kent were gone. They worked together beautifully. The problem is that while Julie Kent did a very respectable job, I think she is a bit too reserved. Also, as mentioned above, she has difficulty with her arabesque, and her back isn't as flexible as the other women who performed the role. Therefore the choreography for Tatiana looked a little diminished compared to the other casts.

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Thank you, abatt, for reporting on all four casts. I'm still recovering from my double-header of yesterday and completely agree with you about Hallberg-Seo and Dvorovenko-Stearns. Having seen only those two casts, I must say that Hallberg was breathtaking and compelling, almost demonic in his rejection of Tatiana and later desperation. Seo was ardent and fluid (the way I remember her in R&J), and I found her fine acting a nice surprise. And I completely agree that Dvorovenko did not create the arc from youthful adoration to maturity. I also felt her acting was contrived. To be fair, I think that the pairing of Dvorovenko and Stearns was unfortunate because he looks so youthful next to her sophistication before they even move a muscle.

For Olga-Lensky, however, I found Kajiya and Gorak just wonderful. Gorak has a beautiful line and executed the steps well and with confidence; Kajiya was light as a feature and pitch-perfect.

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This is in Italian, but maybe it might help with some of the music themes:

http://www.balletto....hp?articolo=605

Some of the music (including the two big pdd for Tatiana/Onegin) for the ballet appear on this CD: http://www.amazon.com/Tchaikovsky-Onegin-Variations-Ballet-Imperial/dp/B004GJV8XE/ref=sr_1_18?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1339351089&sr=1-18&keywords=onegin

Thanks to all for the reviews; know that those of us who cannot be there appreciate it immensely!

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For Olga-Lensky, however, I found Kajiya and Gorak just wonderful. Gorak has a beautiful line and executed the steps well and with confidence; Kajiya was light as a feature and pitch-perfect.

That should have been "light as a feather." As I said, I'm still recovering!

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Some of the music (including the two big pdd for Tatiana/Onegin) for the ballet appear on this CD: http://www.amazon.co...keywords=onegin

There is a recording of the whole ballet music, made some years ago by the Orchestra of Stuttgart State Theatre with conductor James Tuggle. I have no idea if it is available in the US, here's a link to amazon.de:

http://www.amazon.de/Eugen-Onegin-Staatsorchester-Stuttgart/dp/B00003ZA93/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339399365&sr=8-1

Even if it is not complete, the Australian recording is much better.

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In the Tchaikovsky opera (which I know better than the novel), Onegin discusses the Uncle as if he is alive. Also, in both the opera and the ballet, Onegin returns Tatiana's letter.

The actual Russian text of the libretto of the opera does not make it clear whether the uncle is dead or alive. Also, the text does not have Onegin return the letter, but---inlike the book---does not mention that Onegin kept the letter. Therefore, the matter of whether to have him return the letter to Tatyana is up to the stage director in any particular production of the opera. However, having him return the letter would be inconsistent with his character in this part of the opera. In the first two acts, he is quite even-keeled, much like in the novel. On the contrary, the ballet's Onegin is highly prone to hysterics (as are most other characters in the ballet)---tearing the letter, ignoring Tatiana during a conversation, pushing her during the party, making a scene in public, etc. I doubt that such behavior was realistic for a gentleman of Onegin's background in the 1820s.

The libretto of the opera (in Russian) can be found here:

http://feb-web.ru/fe...br/lib-001-.htm

In general, the book is very short on hysterics. The opera introduces quite a bit of hysterics (e.g., the bizarre challenge to a duel in the midst of a party), but the ballet goes far beyond the opera, making caricatures of all the main characters from the book. I immensely enjoyed watching all the dancers (I attended Thursday's performance with Vishneva, Osipova, Gomes, and Matthews); however, the story at times gets so ridiculous that it was difficult to take it seriously. The fact that the choreography is often unmusical didn't help either.

This is in Italian, but maybe it might help with some of the music themes:

http://www.balletto....hp?articolo=605

Thanks! This article has a lot of information!

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In general, the book is very short on hysterics. The opera introduces quite a bit of hysterics (e.g., the bizarre challenge to a duel in the midst of a party), but the ballet goes far beyond the opera, making caricatures of all the main characters from the book. I immensely enjoyed watching all the dancers (I attended Thursday's performance with Vishneva, Osipova, Gomes, and Matthews); however, the story at times gets so ridiculous that it was difficult to take it seriously. The fact that the choreography is often unmusical didn't help either.

Absolutely agree.

I went to see Kent/Bolle performance, and having never seen this ballet before, I wish I did not read (and love) the actual poem.

I love the Pushkin's book, and it did not help me to enjoy performance at all.. I think if I did not read the poem, it would be easier to tolerate ridiculous ballet story. Also, costumes in Act I were laughable.. (why Tatiana and Olga are dressed as peasants??? Other girls of their circle are also dressed as peasants, while man are wearing proper evening attire. And vice versa during the peasant dance )

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In general, the book is very short on hysterics. The opera introduces quite a bit of hysterics (e.g., the bizarre challenge to a duel in the midst of a party), but the ballet goes far beyond the opera, making caricatures of all the main characters from the book. I immensely enjoyed watching all the dancers (I attended Thursday's performance with Vishneva, Osipova, Gomes, and Matthews); however, the story at times gets so ridiculous that it was difficult to take it seriously. The fact that the choreography is often unmusical didn't help either.

Absolutely agree.

I went to see Kent/Bolle performance, and having never seen this ballet before, I wish I did not read (and love) the actual poem.

I love the Pushkin's book, and it did not help me to enjoy performance at all.. I think if I did not read the poem, it would be easier to tolerate ridiculous ballet story. Also, costumes in Act I were laughable.. (why Tatiana and Olga are dressed as peasants??? Other girls of their circle are also dressed as peasants, while man are wearing proper evening attire. And vice versa during the peasant dance )

I think Pushkin's poem/novel is so wonderful that it is hard to enjoy the ballet the same way after reading it. I think it is best to go from poem to Tchaikovsky's opera (which has more moving music, in my opinion) and then to the ballet. Then, the ballet doesn't seem as inferior, but if you go straight from the novel to the ballet, I can imagine it would be disappointing. I went from the book years ago to the opera many years ago and was disappointed but came to love the opera over time. The ballet which I know from video is not too different from the opera, so I actually enjoy it for a fairly "modern" ballet. I am not sure I would understand the entire story if I just started with the ballet. There were several moments that I thought would be confusing if you didn't know the story already. Also, the whole flirtation with Olga at the party which upsets Lensky does come off as too sudden in the ballet.

I suspect (just guessing) that the costumes in Act 1 are to underscore how Tatiana seems more provincial. She is a wealthy landowner's daughter but immersed in country living, but Onegin is cosmopolitan and used to city life and fancy balls. He comes to the country and I believe part of the reason he rejects Tatiana is that he finds her and her life very provincial ("cute" but not for him). I think the class issue comes across much more in the novel/poem. But you have a good point that all the men are dressed up and all the women are dressed down. Not really sure.

Some people interpret Onegin as being gay. There was a recent production of the opera in Munich, I believe, that did that, but I don't think it was the first production that has done that. That explains his dismissal of her love and then later his sudden reversal when she is wealthy and admired (sort of a glamorous diva in his eyes suddenly). Of course, that is just pure interpretation with no basis in the original text, and I don't think the ballet makes him seem gay.But it is interesting to analyze Onegin's character from all possible points of view.

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I suspect (just guessing) that the costumes in Act 1 are to underscore how Tatiana seems more provincial. She is a wealthy landowner's daughter but immersed in country living, but Onegin is cosmopolitan and used to city life and fancy balls. He comes to the country and I believe part of the reason he rejects Tatiana is that he finds her and her life very provincial ("cute" but not for him). I think the class issue comes across much more in the novel/poem. But you have a good point that all the men are dressed up and all the women are dressed down. Not really sure.

Some people interpret Onegin as being gay. There was a recent production of the opera in Munich, I believe, that did that, but I don't think it was the first production that has done that. That explains his dismissal of her love and then later his sudden reversal when she is wealthy and admired (sort of a glamorous diva in his eyes suddenly). Of course, that is just pure interpretation with no basis in the original text, and I don't think the ballet makes him seem gay.But it is interesting to analyze Onegin's character from all possible points of view.

I think you are right about intention to make Tatiana in Act I as provincial as possible.. However, children of wealthy landowners did not wear the same clothes as peasants, no matter how provincial. Also, Tatiana in Act I spends quite a bit of time with book in her hands. It is a bizarre combination: typical peasant's outfit, hairdo - and book, as peasants were illiterate. A book goes together with peasant's outfit as a shovel would go with a ball gown.

Onegin - gay, what an interesting interpretation! I have never thought about it this way

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Onegin was done here by San Francisco Ballet his past season and as I read the book I was quite amazed at how different it was than Cranko's ballet, especially in tone - it’s really like Jane Austen in its gentle irony while the ballet is straight-on melodrama. Pushkin comments on all of his characters, not knowing really how he feels about them (maybe that’s why Eugene can be read as gay) until he finds he has placed them in awkward situations. Then Pushkin says things like “poor Titania, what have I done to you” and “my Eugene, are you only a parody of a person.” He makes of Lensky a shallow character, an abstactly philosophizing young student who has just returned from studying Kant in Germany.

I believe Tatiana’s family is of the same class as Eugene's, though impoverished and Eugene may have been exiled to the country, as Pushkin in real life was. Tatiana loses herself in books as an upper middle class young woman may have gone with Cary Grant movies in the late thirties. She only discovers what Eugene was really like when she spends an afternoon going through Eugene's library after he has permanently has left his estate to wander aimlessly about the countryside.

There are many moving parts in the novel which Pushkin gets to through his irony - such as the description of Lensky’s death done in two styles - Lensky’s own conventional one and then Pushkin's:

“One moment earlier

in this heart had throbbed inspiration

enmity, hope and love,

life efferversed, blood boiled;

now as in a deserted house,

all in it is both still and dark,

it has become forever silent.

The windows are shut. The panes with chalk

are whitened over. The chatelaine is gone -

But where, God knows. All trace is lost.”

*

Balanchine strongly disliked the ballet because of the pastiche it made out of Tchaikovsky’s scores. And Macaulay recently said that decades go by and he doesn’t miss seeing Onegin - though he does like finding out what the performers have done with the roles.

And regarding the opera version that Bart B mentions: I only saw it once, at the Met in the late eighties or nineties and don’t remember much about it except that I was sitting next to two ex-dancers in a side box, one of whom had been in the original production of “On Your Toes” - about which she could only remember that Lorenz Hart was dreamily in love with a new girl friend (she may have been thinking of Bobby Hart). Afterwards I asked her what she thought of the opera and she said “too much shooting” and put her hands over her ears.


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Afterwards I asked her what she thought of the opera and she said “too much shooting” and put her hands over her ears.


Now I will always have something to say (and do) after I see a movie.

Okay...maybe not every movie. Maybe not even every Hollywood movie. But almost.

On topic? I'm thinking it would take an Ashton to get something like Pushkin onto the ballet stage.

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Drew:

On topic? I'm thinking it would take an Ashton to get something like Pushkin onto the ballet stage.

You're right - Ashton definitely would have come closer... And the Balanchine sequence from "One Your Toes" was hardly without gunfire.

OT again - there's a whole section in the novel where Pushkin as a character goes to the ballet (Eugene has left and gone home) and a wistful meditation on the beats of ballet dancers' small feet, followed by six stanzas ("the Pedal Digression": Nabokov) on ballroom dancers' feet: "in my sleep they [still] disturb my heart".

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